Sunday, 30 August 2009

Why do some chess men's wood crack?

It's all in the environment - as Greenpeace might agree. But this environment is the one inside your home in most cases. The average home humidity in the country of origin (which for most good, fine chess sets is India) is high. The average home humidity in, say, North Dakota, USA is low, as they seal their homes against draughts, heat them up and inadvertantly deprive the home of moisture, or humidity. Same with the average home in Toronto, and oddly enough, even California, where the reverse is true - moisture is kept repelled by cooling rather than heating.
But in Europe it's more of a mixed picture  since some countries are cold, some not so cold. Chess pieces rarely crack in the UK where there is a constant weather change with little build up in dryness. The alloy in the bases expands and contracts, and if there is no 'give' in the wood, or a layer that expansion can occur - the wood is the weakest link - and cracks. Good manufacturers allow for this by inserting a layer of softer material between the alloy and the wood to allow the expansion. All of ChessBaron's range for example has this architecture.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

How Do Chess Grandmasters Think Differently Than The Rest

Chess Grandmasters have been thought to think differently than others for quite some time, but after a recent study conducted that compared Grandmasters to amateurs, there is actually some truth to the thought.
According to research, Grandmasters are able to use a part of their brain that is not commonly used by amateur players of chess. Usually during a game of chess, the regular player will use the middle section of their brain. However, with Grandmasters, they use the frontal section. The difference between the two sections is that the frontal part of the brain can process thoughts and actions at a much faster rate and can also store more information than the middle section.
If anyone has ever seen a Grandmaster play in chess, they know that the skills the Grandmaster has when it comes to processing moves and figuring out the best approach to the game comes at a very fast speed. Now we know why – it is because Grandmasters are able to use a different part of their brain which allows them to process their skills at a much faster rate. Not to mention that almost all Grandmasters have a rather high IQ compared to the average person.

Monday, 17 August 2009

ST2026 Sea Life Chess Set

If you know anything about me, you are probably expecting me to say something about the queen's naked boobs in this chess set (or, if you haven't seen the pictures of this set yet, and your a man, you are currently going to the product page in anticipating excitement) but I decided to hold myself back from the trap of male preverstion and talk about something pawns are kinda nice. (See, this is what guys would be like with out girls. Thanks ladies.)

ST2025 George and the Dragon Theme Chess Set

This is a pretty silly set here. Some interesting pieces. I love the kings nose, and I especially love the queens boobs. I mean come on! Those are massive. That shirt has got to be on the edge of ripping right off from the strain. And that's what annoys me in real life. How do girls think that's attractive? There is a firm line inwhich boobs go from hot to 'what the hell is that?'. O, but I loved it in high school were every once and a while 2 girls would get into a fight and start ripping their clothes off, then they realize they arn't really mad at eachother, but love each other, and start kissing naked in the middle of the hall. (YA! You all jealous of America now? we might outsource everything, but we got all the hot chicks over here!)

ST2016 American Independence Chess Set

This American Independence chess set is very interesting in the pieces. So many layers of clothing and detail on all the characters. I don't even know how they get the pieces like this. For example, check out this queen. Look at that massive dress! That's ridiculous. How in the world did they do that without screwing up 75% of the ones they tried? And it doesn't look like a mold either because I wouldn't think a mold could do that many layers with out cracking and ripping the figure. Some things I'll never understand.

ST2015 Christopher Columbus Chess Set

Eh, this set is alright. Nothing to special to talk about. It does have some nice features though. The set is about a man names Christopher Columbus, who was a famous explorer who explored tons of American land. I don't see much of the relationship between his expeditions and the characters in this set though. It has him as the king, but not much of the other pieces make much sense to me. But oh well, can't like 'em all can I?

ST2014 Range Wars Chess Set

Great set here! I love all the pieces. It's based from the American range wars, but that's not what interests me. I usually don't pay much attention to the story. Just the pieces. It's like playing a first-person shooter game on your xbox - there is a reason why this guy is in an Iraqi jail, but nobody cares enough to listen to the story of the game. They just want to shoot things. So with chess - I usually just look at the pieces. And these look pretty interesting to me. Cowboys, sheriffs, ranchers, ect, ect. Pretty neat.

ST2013 Jazz Chess Set

O, we're gettin' jizzy with it now! This jazz-based chess set has some pieces in it you just never see. Like the sax players having there knees bend with a twisted position. That is something you don't normally see. Most characters are standing straight up and have no inflections in there face. But not this set. Even the base guitar players have big sun glasses on their eyes, and that crazy serious look on there faces that exists in real life.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

CL2023 DGT10102 XL Beige

Yet again, another amazing DGT XL chess timer from that funky company DGT. The reason I say amazing is because it not only times each turn of chess for you, but it offers features that have nothing to do with chess. (okay, maybe not, but it sure does have a lot of features packed into one simple device.) This model is the same as a previous model yet this time it's beige instead of red. (Because it makes such a big difference ;)) But I'm not one to sarcastically insult a product in an article about the product itself, so I guess I'll shut up now. Like my mom always said, if you don't have anything nice to say about something, don't say anything at all. BAM! (anyone catch the added insult there at the last sentence? anyone? Just makin' sure)

CL2022 DGT10102 XL Red

Here's your state-of-the-art chess clock. It's got a sleek look, fancy buttons that do stuff you didn't even know you needed, and a gigantic LDC screen with so much info on it, it makes your head spin. I hate when things have too many features that you don't even know what to do with them. Like "Save and retrieve five user defined settings" Ahaha, all I need is for something to beep when my turn is up. Not a robot to make me a sandwich and end world violence. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for cool stuff....but cool stuff I can actually use. Unsurprisingly - this chess timer is mainly for the DGT Electronic Board - connects to the PC, that's why it's so funky.

CL2021 DGT960 Digital Chess Clock

Here is another great chess clock from DGT. Only difference is that it's an entire new model than others from the manufacturer. Still mini and still looks great. But I just can't help but notice it kind of looks like the nintendo DS. Well, at least to me, which doesn't mean it really does look like the DS. It may just be my prosopagnosia kicking in. (anyone gonna be curious enough to look up what that means? eh, probably not)

CL2018 Garde Digital Chess Clock

Are you into the classical look of old chess clocks, but like the convenience of digital stuff? If so, then this product is for you. Its got the old wooden look and frame, yet in place of the physical clocks, there are now digital LCD screens with number timers. Very high class huh? I'm pretty easily impressed though. Like I almost cried the day they made a high definition TV that had 1080p from the previous 720p models. Pretty lame and geeky right? I need more chess clocks in my life

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

CMD2005 Excalibur Grandmaster Chess Computer

At a first glance, this looks like and old ordinary chess set, right? Wrong! This is a state-of-the-art chess computer system. Very fancy and hi-tech computerized systems. You can play against a computer in the game of chess. *gasp* And the processors in these things run so fast, and create so much massive heat, they have to be cooled with liquid nitrogen, and the power these circuit boards eat up solving 5,000 teraflops of equations per second is the equivalent of the power used in one day for an entire skyscraper every 20 seconds! P.S. Yes, I am being an a$$hole, but it is a nice electronic chess set regardless.

CMD2004 Novag Carnelian II Chess Computer

This is one of the more classical chess computers. It's case is technically made of plastic, but is painted to look like polished, high quality wood. It has a strong 16 KB operating system infrastructure, and it's got an 8 MHz system clock, which is pretty fast for a low-calculation program. (If you feel stupid after that sentence, don't worry. It just means your not a nerd like me. Congratulations, you have a life!) So if you need some practice, don't have any friends, trying to impress girls with your fancy chess toys, or whatever the reason, this product is perfect for you.

CMD2003 Saitek Kasparov Chess Challenger Chess Computer

If you ever wanted to amp up your chess skills without having to hiring a good chess player to help you (or ordering my patented lessons on "how to become a millionaire with chess" for only £299.99 - all proceeds go to my pocket) then you may want to consider this electronic chess set from Chess Baron in which you can practice against an extremely smart computer and tune up your skills to hustle all of your friends and make some big money. It offers all the features of a regular chess computer, though it's interface seems better for practice than anything else.

CMD2002 Novag Citrine Chess Computer

Well, you could defiantly say this isn't like most chess computers. I mean hell, might as well just be a normal chess set. But I'm not the one to judge. I just thought that the point of electronic chess boards were to be small so you can travel with them. But anywhozle, it's creative. It has a full-scale chess board with full scale pieces and an LCD screen. It has all the great features of a small one, only on a much larger scale. By the way, for all the 'techies' that bothered to read the description on the site about the set, don't ya think 56 KB is a bit small even for a chess set program? I'm just puttin' that out there.

CMD2001 Excalibur Master Chess Computer

How do I know this is the very best electronic chess set in the whole entire world? well the answer to that is very simple - I'm American. I know everything. It's a well known fact. So when I tell you that there is absolutly nothing better on the market, and never will be, I would be right. Or when I tell you that this set is also uber cool, yet again - right. And especially when I tell you that you should only buy this from ChessBaron, and Chess Baron should split the profits, yet again, I would be right. (No, but in all seriousness, I didn't even pass algebra II the first time in high school, but I did the seventh time)

CM2013 Saitek Travel Chess Computer

If you're looking for an electronic chess set, there are two ways to go. You could go with the newer hi-tech touch screen devices, or you could go for the actual physical electronic board. Now, you're probably expecting me to make some joke, but I have no witty comment on that one. It's all up to you on what kind of computer you want. But if your the guy (or girl for that matter) who likes the physical electronic board, then this looks like a nice product to go with. It has tons of cool features that a lot of others don't.

CM2012 Excalibur Talking Touch Screen Hand Held Chess Computer

Imagine this in your head - You're at the end of a chess championship, and there is $500,000 at stake, but you're about to go up against the best player in the entire world and you know you can't beat him. So what is a guy to do? Well don't worry young lad, I'll help you out. Here is what I would do: 1. Take out your fancy Excalibur Talking Touch Screen Hand Held Chess Computer from ChessBaron. 2. Hide it under the table. 3. Set it up to one player, level "impossible". (This way the computer will beat any human) 4. Let your opponent go first, and copy his exact move into the electronic game. 5. Simply copy the computers response to the real game board, and repeat. This way, you will never loose! (By the way, you owe me half of that prize money)

CM2010 Saitek Kasparov Expert Chess Computer

So lets say you're on a plane or maybe traveling by boat (Do people still do that?) And your bored to death and desperately need something chess related to do. Now if you were me, you would pop the headphones on and pass the time with a movie. But you're not me, you're you. And you don't want to watch a movie or stay in your seat and read the safety instructions in your seat-back pocket in case of an emergency stop or landing. If you're more of a chess nerd then you would pull out your hand electronic chess board just like this one chess baron offers on their website, which has dozens on fancy features. And at a low price too.

CM2008 Einstein Wizard Touch Chess Computer

Wow! what a beauty of a device. Stylish, thin - looks almost as good as an iphone. Great LCD screen, wonderful black casing. Now don't get too excited my young chess nerds, there are some drawbacks to this electronic chess set. For one, it lacks in features, only 56 levels, (compared to some with over 200) and no other fancy features like long drawback and nothing said for long battery life. But oooh does it look sexy! P.S. The same doesn't go for girls though. Remember, she may look sexy on the outside, but she may be the biggest pain in the world on the inside. (Sorry Pamela Anderson)

Monday, 10 August 2009

TH2045 Hand Painted Celtic Chess Set

This is another set in addition to other sets that's based off of the Vikings and Norsemen battle near Dublin. These decorative chess pieces do help me with my history. It's a wonderful set as it stands, but even better with some vibrant color on it. Both of the king pieces are magnificent (I know, what a complicated word coming from a guy like me. I even had to argue with my spell checker for almost 10 minutes just to spell that) and it looks as if that's exactly what it looked like in real life back in those times. It's one of the nice sets here on Baron. A little pricey, but I like it. To me it would be worth it.

TH2044 Celtic Chess Set

Pharaoh, pharaoh, Oooohh baby let my people go Uhh! *ahem* sorry for my singing. That song reminded me of this set. (for all you old people who are like 'what?', that's a song us 20 year old youngsters use to sing when we were kids about the Roman times) Technically, this set is not based off of any roman theme. It's actually about the Vikings and Norsemen, but sometimes, what my little brain does is completely disregard everything, and imagine what it wants. How do you think I saw my first naked girl? Anyway, It's a nice 'classical' set for the classical kind of people.

TH2041 Hand Painted Richard the Lionheart Chess Set

Here is another Loinhead set from the guys over at Chess Baron. It's a nice looking set and a nice paint job. Now that I've got my complements out of the way - if you will take a look over at the main documentation page which is pictured on their website, it's a page describing all the pieces. What I would love to know is why does the king description take up almost the entire page? How much could you possibly find to write about one chunk of wood? Hats off to that dude. Well, anyway, I'll get back to the set because I sense this doesn't have anything to do with anything. It's on the upper price range of most of their other pieces but, the 'finish' quality looks good, an' it's still pretty cheap.

TH2040 Richard the Lionheart Chess Set

Ah, a much different looking set than alot I have seen in my life before. I'm not sure how this set looks neat, (besides the obvious fact they have no bodies) but this set just stands out. My favorite piece is the lion head (I'm not even going to bother looking up what piece he is - must be the knight) but he does look pretty fierce. And the two kings remind me of the Lord of the Rings. Not quite sure why...but nice set anyway. By the way, I use alot of parenthesizes don't I..., but I like to make it conversational...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

TH2061 Battle of Trafalgar Chess Set

Well - it's not your average set. That's for sure. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but there is just something about these characters that just makes them look so different. Maybe it's their extremely skinny body frames, and hollowed out faces. Or the fact that in most sets, the king is the taller piece because he is standing on a higher platform, but that in this set, the king is taller, only he is not standing on any platform, making everyone else look like migit-slaves, (sorry - 'short people slaves')

TH2060 White Tower Hand Painted Chess Set

Ah, well how could I be against this beautiful set. It doesn't necessarily have anything big that sets it apart from other sets, but it does have a really nice polished looked with dolled-up faces that have some good detail on to them. It's simple - no fire breathing dragons - but that's what makes this set nice. It's the simple 'finished' look of all the pieces. And by the way - YES! First article of the day were spell check didn't scream at me, call me stupid, and ask me if I need help spelling all my mistakes. Yay me.

TH2059 White Tower Chess Set

Eh, This set's okay. Could be better. It's basically just a bunch of fat guys and two crows. Half gold, half black. Now of course the sales script on their website polishes up what I just said alittle bit (and as in 'polish up' I mean just delete everything I just wrote and replace it with alot of fancy words) but I do have some nice things to say about this set. It uses pretty sturdy materials, so they can withstand a little more abuse than other sets around that break and chip if dropped.

TH2057 Lord of the Rings Hand Painted Chess Pieces

Ahaha, another Lord of the Rings set. Well, not so scary as the other ones, but it's pushin' the limit. It still has the freaky guy with the scar down his face. And bald characters that look like they have six-pack mussels on their head. And of course they just can't put arms on these guys. No, no, that would take away from there freaky freakishness....if that is a word....but besides freaky - I love the set. Just wouldn't want it sitting in my bedroom at night.

TH2056 Lord of the Rings Chess Set

Oh heck! FREAKY! I think these pieces may just have been in that nightmare I had the other week. This looks like a 1990's horror film, or that one movie were all the humans besides Will Smith turn into dark-seeking monster/zombies. The set is suppose to be resembling Lord of the Rings, but I don't remember these guys looking so scary. But if the maker was trying to make these things freaky, well done sir. You did it. Ewww, I don't like the guy with the big scar down his face. I mean he really must have had social problems in high school with that thing.

Art Deco Chess Pieces

YES!! Finally a chess set where I don't have to compliment its amazing detail! First set like this of the day. I like this set better than the other sets with confusing characters and trees and random turtles/dragons poppin' out of nowhere. I may actually be able to name the acuall pieces this time! Plus this set is pretty contemporary, so you don't need a bunch of nerdy action figures on shelves for it to look like it fits in to your homes' style. I love the solid paint job on these, and the simplicity.

TH2051 SAC Hand Painted Canterbury Cathedral Chess Set

Ahaha, what neat-o looking individual pieces for a chess set. I love the platform underneath each of them. It kind of universalizes all of them. (If you know what I mean (you probably don't. (It's okay. Sometimes I don't even understand myself. (Just like right now)))) I also like the characters themselves. Especially
the guys kneeling on the floor either begging not to be killed by the king or praying to their god. Either way it looks nice.

TH3008 SAC Hand Painted Warrior War including Board

Hmmmm, This set is pretty impressive. The acual value of the set isn't much. No fancy materials were used in making the pieces, but the set has a big gee-wizz factor added in. When you buy this thing, you not only get themed pieces, but a themed board and a themed carrying case. All fit together pretty well and look good in the process. Every section looks like it was made for itself. Especially the carrying case, which turns the actually chess characters into real-life animated works of art on the front.

SAC Hand Painted Robin Hood War including Board

I was never much into the Robin Hood movies (or maybe they were books?), but this chess set was apparently made to resemble after the Robin Hood themes and British folk-lore. So like any other normal person who wants to sound like they actually know what they are talking about, I went over to my trusty Google account and researched on the themes that are represented in this set. I found some interesting sites, and they resemble the pieces pretty closely. Plus, any chess set that has an oak tree with an extremely detailed tree-house, complete with a door noob, and veins on the leaves is a winner.

TH3006 SAC Hand Painted Waterloo War including Board

As I was sitting here thinking about how I'm going to start this article about this chess set, and what I'm going to talk about, I realized that I usually tell about the good points of a set, then make fun one or two of the pieces then end the article. But this set - I really don't have much to make fun of. So I don't really anything funny to say, but what I can say is the pieces prefectly match what the maker was trying to resemble, and the set turned out just perfect!

TH3005 SAC Hand Painted Egyptian War including Board

Wow, what a great theme for a chess set. This whole thing is based apon all the old Egyptian stuff. When all the slaves of the pharoahs were buildin' the pyramids and the big cat structure. The set is pretty accurate to all the actual pics of these things. But I think they should stick a lil' speaker up in the cats mouth to make it meow every time you touch it. Haha, wow, my spell check is goin' crazy. It's like "Are you five???". But anyway, nice gold color finish, and I absolutely love the theme.

TH3004 SAC Hand Painted Crusades including Board

This chess set has a religious war setting. The characters have the same detail as in the other pieces in this line of chess sets from Chessbaron, but this time, the characters look like different races. One side looks like a handful of mini-sized Iranians, and the other side looks like Chinese Monks. Pretty neat, but the Iraq guys kind of scare me because you can see the detail in their face, and they look pretty mean. Nothing against them. Just sayin'.

TH3003 Hand Painted Samurai including Board

Ahhhhh, what happened to the good old days were chess pieces were simply chunks of wood with carved balls on the top of them? Now-a-days I can barley tell what's a king and what's a pawn. Not insulting work of the people who make these. Don't get me wrong - they look really cool. Like this set from Chessbaron. But I still do think they should come with stickers stuck to their heads telling me what they are. Else I'm just lost. But the detail and paint job on these guys are crazy. You can tell the expressions on each of the characters faces.

SAC Hand Painted Camelot including Board

This is one of a few King Arthur sets that ChessBaron has rollin' right now. It's the same make as all the others, but the only difference is the characters. Acually, I can't even tell any similarities between the sets. I think they just shove them into a set just to get hard core collectors to buy more than one set. But ignoring that fact, I like the characters. particularly because I think the queen just might be exposing herself to me. Or it could be my fantasy flarin' up again because I could never get a girlfriend in high school. *cries*

SAC Hand Painted Trojan War including Board

In my opinion (or as the youngsters say, IMO) this is a great chess set. I really love the detail of the whole thing. It really brings out the window appeal of these things. Some of their outfits are pretty neat looking. And especially the kings' get-up. It's a bit short on him I believe. Almost short enough to reveal a lil' somethin. But oh well. He's the king. I'm sure he's proud of what he has got. I would personally be a bit selfconcious to wear something like that.